Diary of Geoffrey and Amy Hale Carpenter

Scope and Content

This joint diary records their experiences including trips to Uganda for his research on sleeping sickness between 1913 and 1930. As well as diary entries documenting their day to day activities, there are photos, pressed flowers, press cuttings, concert programmes and their wedding invitation.

Administrative / Biographical History

Carpenter was born on October 26, 1882 and came from a distinguished academic family; both his father and grandfather were doctors of science and Fellows of the Royal Society. He had the rare privilege of being born in Eton College, where his father was an assistant master and his mother daughter of another. He was educated at the Dragon School (Lynams's), Bradfield College and St Catherine's Oxford, graduating B.A. with a second-class in his final examination in 1904 and then passing with a University Entrance Scholarship to St George's Hospital. He qualified M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. in 1908 taking the degrees of B.M., B.Ch. in the same year and he proceeded to the D.M. five years later. After qualification he held the appointments of house-surgeon and house-physician at St George's Hospital.

In 1910 he entered the Colonial Medical Service and studied tropical medicine under Patrick Manson at the London School of Tropical Medicine in 1910 where he gained a certificate with distinction.

He was appointed by the Royal Society to the Sleeping Sickness Commission and was engaged for the work taking up residence in the Sesse Islands in the north-west part of Lake Victoria in February 1911. The results of his investigations appeared in the Reports of the Sleeping Sickness Commission of the Royal Society (1912,1913 and 1919), and were presented in another form for his degree of doctor of medicine, Oxford.

The war of 1914-1918 caused him to be withdrawn from tsetse research and he served as a captain with the Uganda Medical Service, being constantly moved about from post to post waiting for casualties that never came. So he studied and collected insects of all kinds, paying special attention to the phenomena of mimicry, polymorphism and matters of evolutionary interest and keeping up a correspondence about his work with the later Sir Edward Poulton of Oxford. For his services in the war he was appointed M.B.E. in 1918. In 1920 he was specialist officer for the control of sleeping sickness in Uganda until he retired from the Colonial Medical Service in 1930, but he undertook a special investigation into tsetse fly in Ngamiland at the request of the Secretary of State for the colonies in 1930-31.

On returning to England he built a house in Oxford, near the University Museum, which housed the Hope Department of Entomology where many of his African specimens were held. For a year or two he visited the department daily, studying and assisting Sir Edward Poulton. When Sir Edward retired in 1933, Hale Carpenter succeeded him as Hope Professor, occupying the chair until 1948, when he retired on reaching the age limit. The title of emeritus professor was then conferred upon him.

During the second world war he lectured on tropical medicine and camouflage to the troops in training near Oxford and he prepared special booklets for the African campaigns. He was keenly interested in Linnean, Zoological and Royal Societies and was a frequent attendee and speaker at their meetings in London, serving as vice president of the Linnean in 1935-36 and as president of the Royal Entomological Society in 1945-6. His monumental study of Euploea, a genus of butterflies ranging widely across the Pacific was completed shortly before his death and appeared in the Transactions of the Zoological Society of London. His other writings include A Naturalist on Lake Victoria (1920) and Mimicry (1933) as well as numerous technical publications. In 1919 he married Amy Frances Thomas-Peter, of Treviles, Cornwall, there had no children.

Access Information

This collection is open for consultation. Please contact the Archivist to arrange an appointment. All researchers must complete and sign a user registration form which signifies their agreement to abide by the archive rules. All researchers are required to provide proof of identity bearing your signature (for example, a passport or debit card) when registering. Please see website for further information at www.lshtm.ac.uk/library/archives


Compiled by Victoria Killick, Archivist. Sources: Obituary, British Medical Journal, 14/2/1953 and Who Was Who, 1951-1960.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed computer catalogue is available for use in the Archives and the on-line archive catalogue will be available at www.lshtm.ac.uk/library/archives from 2005

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist

Geographical Names